The legal framework for forest conversion in the Republic of Congo

In Africa, commercial and subsistence agriculture combined represent more than two thirds of deforestation, and in this region the impact of mining activities on deforestation is much greater than in the rest of the world.

The Republic of Congo is not spared from this reality as a proportion of its forests is not only used to harvest timber products, but forestlands are also converted for agro-industrial, mining and infrastructure projects. Although the rate of deforestation remains relatively low, a potential increase is foreseen in the years to come due to agriculture in the region’s forests.

This study will focus on forest conversion, which can be defined as clearing natural forests with the objective of changing the use of the land in order to make room, amongst others, for crops such as soya or palm oil, or for mining. This process is generally irreversible.

This report clarifies the legal framework for forest conversion in Congo-Brazzaville. More precisely, its goal is to understand: which forested lands are available for agriculture and mining; which permits need to be obtained, and which procedures need to be followed to cut down the trees on this land; and what is the legal status of the wood coming from forest conversion, and how is it taken into account in the Voluntary Partnership Agreement with the EU?

While answering each of these questions, the report focuses on how the rights of local communities and indigenous people are taken into account. The analysis also shows legal loopholes in the current legislation.

This report will be useful to people working on the implementation of regulations and policies related to communities’ rights and natural resources (including forest resources).

Published June 9, 2015
Found in Forest conversionForestsIllegal LoggingRepublic of Congo